*Josh's name has been changed for child protection purposes
Before being enrolled on Kids Club Kampala’s Sponsorship Programme, Josh’s* life was tough. He was growing up in a broken family living in one of Kampala’s harshest slums. He had dropped out of school with no hope of continuing because his mother could not afford to pay for his school fees. When he was 10 years old Kids Club Kampala found a sponsor for him who began paying £25 per month to send him to a good primary school.
Speaking of that time Josh says: ‘Before I was sponsored life was so hard, I was sent home from school for not paying my school fees. But then when I was 10 I got a chance to be helped by KCK. I started studying and from that time I never looked back.’
It’s been 7 years since Josh first started being sponsored. He is now an articulate 17 year old with big dreams of one day becoming a judge. We caught up with Josh at his secondary school recently and he told us of how things have changed since that first day that he found out he would be sponsored. Here is what he had to tell us:
‘I knew that because I got the chance to be sponsored I would have to study hard. Before I thought that if I played football and didn’t study then I could become a footballer and that could take me towards my future. I used to do nothing all day. Life has now changed a lot. I can now speak English very well and I can converse with anyone in English. If anyone who knows me now would have seen me back when I was out of school they would say ‘really Josh has changed’ because back then I was a really stubborn boy. I would not do any house work or help my mum at all. I would just get up in the morning and go play football and hang out in the slum everyday and then come back in the evening. Now I am at boarding school but when I go to stay with my mother I help her a lot. Before I had dropped out of school I had also run away from school a lot to just hang out in the slum. When I became sponsored I started studying hard. I know that if I had remained in the slum every day I would have become a thug, like those guys who steal women’s bags. Being around the slum everyday is not good for a child.’
When speaking to Josh about his experience we asked him about his dreams. We are aiming not only to practically support kids like Josh with their education but also to reignite their hope for their own future and purpose in life. Josh told us about what hope means to him.
‘Hope means believing. When you don’t have hope it means you do not believe that something can happen like having a bright future. But having hope means you think and believe that you can. When I was small I used to dream of going to University. The slum where I grew up was beside the university residences and I would see the students pass by and I wanted to be like them. I would watch them and admire them and I wanted to be in their place. I thought that one day I will be there and I will also be a mature guy who can be recognised and can do something. But I knew that my parents did not have enough money to pay for my fees up to university. Kids Club Kampala is helping people like me to have hope because I did not have hope before but now I know that I will complete my studies and have a good job in my future. I never even thought that I would pass my Primary Leaving Examination and finish primary school. I never thought I would make it to secondary school. So when I received my results and saw that I had passed I was so happy and I prayed to God. I said to my God that I would never leave school until I complete it. Because I want to have a bright future and a successful life. I did not ever believe I would be in secondary school. By the time I believed that I had made it I was already in the second term! I want to be a judge and I am studying and working towards this. I want to be a judge because I see innocent people sometimes taken to court and they are put in jail. I want to fight this and I also want to fight corruption in my country. I really care about justice and I also want equality. I don’t want people to be treated differently because they are corporates or because they are poor. No, we need to care about all people equally. ‘
We asked Josh to tell us a memorable moment from the past 7 years and this is what he said:
‘I love playing football and when I was at primary school I started playing on the school team. I was new to the team and because I was small my team mates didn’t believe that I could be a good footballer and they looked at me as if I could not be a good player. I remember we had a friendly match against another school and when I started playing I showed them that being small didn’t mean I couldn’t play. They were all surprised at how good I was and they really appreciated my talent. I had been playing football every day since I was small in the slum. Now I play on my secondary school team.’
Finally Josh told us what the sponsorship programme does for children like him:
‘The school sponsorship programme really helps people to realise their potential and to know who they are. When children are sponsored they are taken to schools which help them to develop their talents. Sponsoring a child helps the child to know that they are not alone and that they are loved and that they are also recognised as a child. Some children do not think they are recognised as a child because they are at home not studying and watching their friends go to school. They don’t feel worth anything. It’s so good to help children to study. By sponsoring me, it makes me feel valuable’
Josh's sponsor continues to support his education, now that he is in secondary school his sponsor pays £35 per month which covers his school fees, books, uniform, meals and school materials. We currently have two teenagers that need to be sponsored through secondary and also other primary aged children awaiting the opportunity to have a bright future. Could you sponsor a child and transform their life? If so please contact us now.